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Selecting a Targeting Method to Identify BPL Households in India

  • Sabina Alkire and Suman Seth

This paper proposes how to select a methodology to target multidimensionally poor households, and how to update that targeting exercise periodically. We present this methodology in the context of discussions regarding the selection of a targeting methodology in India. In 1992, 1997, and 2002 the Indian government identified households that are Below the Poverty Line (BPL) and in updating the 2002 methodology, alternative methods have been proposed and vigorously debated. A fourth BPL method was published and a corresponding Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC), implemented. Using the third National Family Health Survey (NFHS3), this paper illustrates how a BPL targeting method using SECC variables might be calibrated to a multidimensional poverty measure. This paper compares the fit between a benchmark measure of multidimensional poverty and several plausible targeting methods to determine which method(s) approximate it - as well as related measures - most closely. We find a ten-item binary scoring method, which uses variables already available in the SECC questionnaire, provides a strong proxy. The emphasis of this paper is to illustrate how a particular targeting method can be justified, rather than to advocate any particular solution.

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File URL: http://www3.qeh.ox.ac.uk/pdf/ophiwp/OPHIWP053.pdf
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Paper provided by Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford in its series OPHI Working Papers with number ophiwp053.

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Date of creation: Aug 2012
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Handle: RePEc:qeh:ophiwp:ophiwp053
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  1. Ferreira, Francisco H.G. & Lugo, Maria Ana, 2012. "Multidimensional Poverty Analysis: Looking for a Middle Ground," IZA Policy Papers 45, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Amartya Sen, 2004. "Capabilities, Lists, And Public Reason: Continuing The Conversation," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(3), pages 77-80.
  3. Piketty, Thomas & Qian, Nancy, 2006. "Income Inequality and Progressive Income Taxation in China and India, 1986-2015," CEPR Discussion Papers 5703, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Alkire, Sabina & Foster, James, 2011. "Counting and multidimensional poverty measurement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 476-487.
  5. Bejoy Thomas & Roldan Muradian & Gerard De Groot & Arie De Ruijter, 2009. "Multidimensional Poverty and Identification of Poor Households: A Case from Kerala, India," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 237-257.
  6. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-31, March.
  7. Rajindar Sachar & Saiyid Hamid & T.K. Oommen & M.A. Basith & Rakesh Basant & Akhtar Majeed & Abusaleh Shariff, 2006. "Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community of India," Development Economics Working Papers 22136, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  8. Sabina Alkire and Suman Seth, 2012. "Identifying BPL Households: A Comparison of Methods," OPHI Working Papers ophiwp054, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  9. Atkinson, Tony & Cantillon, Bea & Marlier, Eric & Nolan, Brian, 2002. "Social Indicators: The EU and Social Inclusion," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199253494, March.
  10. repec:ese:iserwp:2013-03 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Vivi Alatas & Abhijit Banerjee & Rema Hanna & Benjamin A. Olken & Julia Tobias, 2012. "Targeting the Poor: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1206-40, June.
  12. Olken, Benjamin A., 2006. "Corruption and the costs of redistribution: Micro evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 853-870, May.
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